U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on Thursday warned that Islamic State, the militant group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and now controls vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, has “an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision, which will eventually have to be defeated.”
Days after IS released a gruesome video of >Foley being murdered by a British-accented militant covered in black, Mr. Hagel along with General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the group’s ability to “marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” combined with the fact that they are tremendously well funded, made it impossible that they could be contained in perpetuity.
The tenor of the top military leaders reflected a heightened concern about the need to tackle the IS crisis head-on, as did the words of U.S. Secretary John Kerry, who said after Foley’s death that IS “must be destroyed,” and U.S. President Barack Obama, who described the militants as a “cancer”.
In the aftermath of the video of Foley’s killing the U.S. has resumed bombing multiple IS targets such as those near Mosul dam, and has brought to at least 90 the total number of airstrikes launched since August 8.
In the video, the IS militant threatened to kill another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, unless Mr. Obama reconsidered the decision to attack IS in Iraq.